By Rob Kiser
It will be a big night for the Piqua/Sidney rivalry Friday night when the Yellow Jackets visit for a girls/boys doubleheader at Garbry Gymnasium.
Things will kickoff the with girls JV game at 4:30 p.m., followed by the varsity girls game at 6 p.m. and varsity boys game at 7:30 p.m.
The first 400 people to bring at least one canned good to the game will receive a white, long-sleeve Piqua basketball T-Shirt.
“It is going to be a big night,” Piqua boys basketball coach Steve Grasso said. “Hopefully, we can get a big crowd.”
The boys are heading into the game of a 76-66 loss to Tippecanoe Tuesday in GWOC American play.
“It was an entertaining game,” Grasso said. “We came back from nine points down and tied it early in the fourth quarter.”
Piqua had led 19-18 after one quarter.
Tipp led 38-36 at halftime and 54-52 after three quarters.
The Red Devils had taken a 50-41 lead in the third quarter after a three-point play by Caiden Smith.
Ben Schmiesing hit a three with 1:55 to go in the third quarter to tie it at 52.
Tipp scored the next five points, before Piqua countered with a three by Nick Rigola and a basket by Devon Brown to tie it at 57 with 6:00 to go.
But, the Indians could never get the lead and Tipp eventually stretched the margin to 10.
Piqua made need to repaint the foul lines after 73 free throws were shot in the game, including 44 by Tippecanoe.
“We shot 29,” Grasso said. “But, we are struggling to put it in the hole from the line.”
Piqua lost both Schmiesing and Hayden Schrubb to fouls, while several other players had four.
When Schmiesing left the game with 4:23 to go, Tipp began to take over in the paint.
“We are not that tall to begin with,” Grasso said. “And we don’t have anyone else that has Ben’s (Schmiesing) physical presence. We were also without our point guard (Hayden Schrubb) most of the game. I think it will be interesting to see how we do (when they play at Tipp) with our full allotment of players.”
Caiden Smith led Tippecanoe with 24 points and six rebounds.
Tyler Skaggs had 15 points and seven rebounds, while Ben Sauls scored 11 points and Zach Losey grabbed 11 rebounds.
Devon Brown led Piqua with 18 points and Schmiesing had a double-double with 16 points and 13 rebounds.
Quirri Tucker scored 11 points — all in the first half, while Rigola had his best game with 10 points.
“I wish had coached Nick (Rigola) for more than one year,” Grosso said. “He is like a blossoming flower. He still has a lot of upside in the game, it just a matter of learning the technical points.”
Tipp was 23 of 56 from the floor for 41 percent and 26 of 44 from the line for 59 percent.
Piqua was 23 of 63 from the floor for 37 percent and 14 of 29 from the line for 48 percent.
Tipp, 2-1 overall and 1-1 in GWOC American play, won the battle of the boards 38-30, but had 18 turnovers to Piqua’s 14.
Piqua, 1-3 overall and 0-2 in GWOC American play, will face a tough challenge Friday in Sidney, 2-2 overall and 2-1 in GWOC American play.
The Jackets are led by 6-2 junior Andre Gordon, who is averaging 27.3 points, 5.0 rebounds and 5.0 assists a game.
Ratez Roberts, a 6-3 junior, is averaging nearly a double-double with 10.5 points and 9.0 rebounds.
“They have another guy (Devan Rogers, 6-2 senior) who has played the last two games,” Grasso said. “It is another challenge for us.”
Piqua will counter with Schmiesing, a 6-2 senior, who is averaging a double-double with 13 points and 10.2 rebounds per game.
Tucker, a 5-10 junior is averaging 12.3 points and Brown, a 5-10 senior, is averaging 12 points and five rebounds per game, while 6-2 senior Schrubb is averaging 5.0 rebounds per game.
On Tuesday, Piqua will travel to Greenville, 0-4 overall and 0-2 in GWOC American play.
“It is (a unique place to play),” Grasso said. “You have students on the stage and you feel like everyone is right on top of you.”
Noah Walker, a 6-1 junior, averages 11.3 points and 6.0 rebounds for the Green Wave.
Tyler Beyke, a 5-11 sophomore, averages 10.3 points, while 5-9 sophomore Marcus Wood averages 10 points and 5.7 assists.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.